Could this be demolishment of print or the liberation of free media within the music industry?

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1995 NME cover. Source: NME

THEN As people often say, “back in the day” years ago, no matter your age or hometown, you would always count down the days until the new release of your favourite music publication, be it NME, The Rolling Stone, or Q. It would cost from 3-5 quid, and would be worth every penny (so we thought). This would answer all of weekly questions: who’s the coolest artist on the block right now, who’s making music, is it any good, who’s touring and where can I go and see them? Our own personal fix of music news. These established music magazines were the hub of all the up-to-date news and the ultimate trendsetters within the music scene, regardless of taste.

 

 

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2015 NME cover. Source: NME

 

NOW things are slightly different. For the answers to all of these continuously urging questions we go to our phones, our laptops, or our favourite venue. You rarely see people paying for a music magazine at their local shop anymore, and this has been such a drastic drop in demand that one of Britain’s most established publication, NME, has recently had to re-release as a free magazine distributed publicly on the streets and at station, just when it was seemingly going to go on forever at £2.50 a piece.

 

What has cause this dramatic change in the world of music and media? And more importantly is this a positive move forward or something we should fear?

 

As we all know (and if you aren’t just look around you and witness the sea of screens before you), we now live in a world of fast-paced, constantly delivering technology. The demand for information has changed. We want it all, and we want it now (sometimes regardless of quality); so much so that we are more likely to watch 50 8-second, instantly-loading videos of recurring jokes like “what are those?” than watch an hour long documentary about something we actually care about. We also want everything for free, and are becoming increasingly stubborn against paying for services that we use regularly.

 

So as a result, dominating magazines like NME quickly went from being respected sources of media and information, the first to deliver all the latest and greatest, to an antiquated, out-of-fashion magazine. The fact that NME was driven to stop charging for the publication just demonstrates how powerful this shift is. The idea of it is great: have larger, cheaper distributions in order to gain a bigger influence. But have you given it a read lately? It is a sell-out shell of what it once was. From having the majority of the pages filled with mainstream adverts, to covering the latest hot pop-star that they would have previously mocked while boasting about discovering the new underground must-see.

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2016 DIY cover. Source: DIY

NME has disappointingly sold-out its identity in order to simply stay afloat. But this is not the case with everyone.

Lately there has been a rise of brilliant, independent publications such as DIY and Upset that have been built upon the idea that it should be free to join a music community. With their magazines being distributed to local music venues to encourage people to go to gigs, and a prominent passion for discovering a range of fresh talent from across the scene(s), there is a feeling of authenticity and genuineness when reading these magazines, and this honesty has been rewarded with an ever-growing group (with myself included) of committed readers.

 

 

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2016 Upset cover. Source: Upset

There has also been a recent flourish of blogs, and good blogs. Real journalism, honest discussions and uncompromising exposure of artists that editors are actually passionate about. You can also see artists and bands embracing this change on traditions by becoming more creative and resourceful when releasing music, making announcements and doing their promotion campaigns. We need to stop complaining about how things have changed and learn to incorporate the new order of things. Media and music are no longer emerging from the top down, it is coming from every which-way due to the Internet and other innovative ways of distribution, bringing about a new level of diversity within the music industry and levelling the playing field for everyone.

 

 

So while some institutions and organisations have fallen into the trap of the changing market within music consumption, by selling their front-page spreads to the highest bidder, others have embraced this head on. There is now a new generation of artists, journalists and media enthusiasts with fresh ideas and an eager attitude to bring people together into a community of people who just love all kinds of music, regardless of their income.

 


Check out DIY and Upset magazine.
You can follow us on twitter, facebook and instagram

Baker out.

ALBUM REVIEW. Carina Round – ‘Deranged to Divine’

Release Date: 29th July 2016

Label: Do Yourself In

Genre: Alternative Rock and a little bit of everything else

Rating: ★★★★

Carina Round is a unique one, that much is for sure. With four critically acclaimed albums and a heavily committed fan base under her belt, many started to believe that her LP ‘Tigermixes‘ would be it for the Wolverhampton artist, but she is back with the invigorating ‘Deranged to Divine‘ a retrospective collection of over a decade of work, which for this artist, means a diverse roundhouse trip through her work, spinning off in all possible directions.

The opening track, ‘You Will Be Loved‘ is a crescendo warning call to all new comers, and a welcoming message to all friendly faces. Carina’s vocal range is the first of many talents being showcased here, as a delicate folk track lifted up by soft high pitched melodies turns into a heavy electro-alternative arrangement, with the sinister lyrics “has your world been shattered, confounded by fear?” biting through. Meanwhile, ‘Into My Blood’ is an angsty dark horse, with pounding bass lines setting the perfect foundation for Carina’s emotive rantings. ‘Slow Motion Addict’ later follows on from this, will a blaring guitar riff that simmers through her almost gothic threatening words.

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Image: Instagram

There are many a surprise in this album, with gentle acoustic/folk songs such as ‘Backseat‘, telling sad tales in the form of haunting vocals. The highlights of this collection are hard to pick out due to the hige variety of choice, but ‘Elegy’ is one that shines through, as the solo instrumental at the end of the track just about teeters on the edge of madness, before the calm settles and it is done.
Mother’s Pride’ is another hit, with seemingly jaded but romanticised lyrics and purposely slow pacing that flows wonderfully before exploding into a frenzy of passionate vocal reprises and heavy drums – one for any Lana Del Rey fans out there. On the other side of the spectrum you have the brilliant ‘Want More‘, a catchy chorus bursting with hooks contrasted by carefully thought-out verses built to cut deep.

With retrospective collections of an artist’s work, it is often difficult to hold a consistent tone that flows throughout, and this is evident at certain points of this huge 18-track LP. Jazzy numbers such as ‘How I See It‘ are contrasted and arguably jolted out of the way by the more aggressive vibes of ‘Gunshot‘. However, all of the tracks on ‘Deranged to Devine’ – enjoyable or not – are not what they seem in the first few bars. Her voice is tremendously difficult to categorise: is that a country twang? A grungy bellow? Tantalising low-tone vocals reeling you in? It is all of the above and more. Carina Round is clearly the result of a melting-pot of talent, with a deep pocket of carefully crafted tunes to pick from. Overall, this album is an all-encompassing roundhouse of sounds, influences and emotions, and you won’t know where the turns are coming from.

 


Pre-Order ‘Deranged to Devine‘ here

You can also connect with Carina Round on facebooktwitter and instagram

 

 

Baker out.

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW. Catfish & The Bottlemen – ‘The Ride’

Release date: 8th Junly 2016

Genre: Indie-Rock/Pop

Rating:★★★1/2

So it is finally here. Catfish & The Bottlemen release second album ‘The Ride‘ after fan-apprehension grew steadily throughout 2016 with the release of hit singles ‘Soundcheck‘, ‘7‘ and ‘Twice‘. Their debut ‘The Balcony‘ was all about getting their name known, and letting us know what they’re about – rough around the edges rock that is going to conquer the UK. Now this album’s purpose is to cement their place as the UK’s leading indie-rock band and showcase how much they have grown, from arriving tentatively onto the scene, to having sold-out shows and gold album sales figures. 

 

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Image: ebuzz.ie

We start off with the two singles that fans have been singing along to for weeks in preparation for this release, ‘7‘ and ‘Twice‘. These are unsurprisingly two of the best singles on the album, full of buildup and blaring hooks. ‘Oxygen‘ is very reminiscent of what Oasis would be like if they were to write new material today while ‘Emily‘ gives an insight into travels to America and surprises in romantic endeavours. Nearing the end of this 11-track album, and so far we have had peaks and troffs, with all of the foundations from their debut, just when you think they are going to explode onto a huge level, Catfish’s efforts plato into an anti-climactic memory of ‘The Balcony‘. It is not all bad though, ‘Red‘ is a powerful hit all about growing up and second chances, with heavy bass drums and blaring vocals by McCann that leave us with insight into a romantic rival with lyrics “Can he do what I do for you?“. additionally,’Soundcheck‘ has an undertone similar to some early Strokes material, with CATB’s trademark touch flowing throughout.

 

These guys know how to make ear-catching, fun, quality hits that much is clear. This album is sure to do well, and get the band more sold-out gigs, possibly even allow them to spread their wings overseas more. The only question is, shouldThe Ride‘ achieve all this? This second album is slighty monotonous at times, making it hard to distinguish between this musical endeavour and their first, released two years ago. Catfish’ have so much potential and adventure inside, and at times throughout this album, you feel as if they are holding back. This disappointing lacking touch is actually done on purpose, as front-man of the band said when discussing ‘The Ride‘: “I feel like everybody started thinking too outside the box, trying to be arty and different…we wanted to stay inside the box“. Is this going to be a safety-guard that ensures sales, or their first and last creative mistake? Only time will tell.

 

Listen to it and make up your own mind on spotify

Catfish and The Bottlemen are also on facebook and twitter

 

 

Baker out.

CAMDEN ROCKS FEST REVIEW – The Carnabys

Date: 4th June 2016 (Camden Rocks Festival)

Venue: The Forge, Camden.

Genre: Alternative-rock/Brit-pop

Rating: ★★★1/2

This Camden rocks gig was hosted by the Forge, one of the more lager venues of this festival that allowed for more open-air circulation of sound and room to move about. The Carnabys of Twikenham opened their set with ‘So Much Better On My Own’, an upbeat tune that showcased the great synergy between the energetic drumming and funky bass lines, and also gave front man Jack Mercer the chance to warm up the crowd.

Tracks such as ‘It’s Not My Party’ had Jack jumping around the stage, and filled the Forge with optimistic, brit-pop vibes. This band brought something different to Camden Rocks tonight, with their entertaining performances and choruses full of funloving hooks, they are a great example of a more tight and mature alternative rock band.

 

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The crowd steadily became more condensed, with committed fans fleeing to the front to chant the chorus lines back to the band. The Carnabys’ energy is not only carried but pushed out onto the audience by the strong-standing Jack and his powerful resounding vocals with the band’s music and upbeat vibes being carried and pounded out by the impressive drumming skills of James Morgan.

Despite covers usually being the lul of a band’s set, a moment where it is clear they have ran out of unique tracks and settle for something people will (hopefully) know, The Carnabys’ cover of David Bowie’s ‘Jene Genie’ was arguably the highlight due to the perfect suiting of this band with this song. Jack’s voice boomed out the lyrics, which hit him right back in the face as the crowd reciprocated them, and the music was seemingly in the musicians’ fun-loving comfort zone. This classic, British sound was continued through the rest of the set, and althought it would have been good to see their more adventurous side musically, the Twikenham boys gave Camden rocks authentic, brit-pop summer vibes.


What the crowd thought…

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“Great indie-pop vibes and good energy!”


 

Check out The Carnabys now below:

Also give them a follow facebook and twitter

 

(All images: Steph Baker)

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. The Hunna – ‘Still Got Blood’

Genre – Indie-rock

Rating -★★★ 1/2

2016 has been a good year for Hertfordshire boys, The Hunna, with game-changing singles such as ‘You & Me‘ and ‘We Could Be‘ being dropped and a much-anticipated album, ‘100‘ coming soon (Out 26 August 2016). Considering the band only formed last year, their music has developed impressively fast, and this shows in their growing international fan-base.

This track opens with a heavy guitar riff that paves the way for front man Ryan Potter to wear his heart on his sleeve with emotive lyrics: “You say deep down the odds are against us but you feel way to good for me”. Still Got Blood‘ is about the relatable struggles of love, and the sacrifices and compromises involved in all that. It is this voice that gives the track a emotional sense of desperation, which is uplifted into a powerful, confident hit by heavy drums and the energetic distorted guitar sounds reminiscient of Catfish and The Bottlemen that this band are known for.

This is a track that would be the highlight of a live set, with the resounding hook “Still got blood” being exclaimed by the lead vocalist. The track also has a strategic pause of scilence part-way through which is followed by drums and bass drops that would be explosive on-stage.

The music video shows the group doing their own thing and touring around the UK. It even makes time for a few ammusing moments from the band members captured on camera. Check it out below:

 

You can stream the single now on spotify and also pre-order their album now here

Make sure to give them a follow and a shout on facebooktwitter and instagram

 

 

Baker out

Trust Fund live at the Boileroom

Here’s a live review of Trust Fund, with support by Dog and Alimony Hustle written for thnksfrthrvw

Date: 14/11/2015 –  Boileroom, Guildford

Promoter – OXYXXEY Promotions

 

Support from Dog

The first support act of the night was a three-piece consisting of Benji, Sean and Ed from Devon.

This band manages to catch the zeitgeist of the present youth very well with their nonchalant vocalist, singing truths of heartbreak, drinking and general troubles in life. Guitar riffs reminiscent of psych-pop bands such as Beach Baby and down-beat drums tied romanticised angst and indie hooks all together in tunes such as ‘Too young to be so bitter’ and ‘Cause everybody’s so cool’.

With relatable lyrics and such a blasé style, this band is one to watch.

FFO-Beach Baby, Oscar, Kid Wave

Rating – 4/5

 

Support from Alimony Hustle

This playful pair from Bristol, consisting of Matt and Leah currently touring with Trust Fund came to Guildford for the first time this evening.

Alimony Hustle are definitely not your bog-standard duo act. Their heavy indie riffs and powerful drumming are accompanied by strong unapologetic vocals of Leah. The crowd were drawn in instantly with an abundance of audience interaction from Leah and Matt.

Part way through the set, the duo treated the crowd to covers of two very different, but much-loved tracks. First was Blink 182’s ‘Stay Together For The Kids’, dedicated to Dan, a member of tonight’s headliners. The duo’s rendition mixed the same nostalgic skate punk riffs with their own take on vocals, which were greatly received from the crowd. We then heard an acapella performance of the opening lyrics to One Direction’s ‘Night Changes’, which then exploded into the grunge-pop sounds that this group really excel in delivering.

You could never get a dull set with this fresh, fun-loving duo.

Rating – 3/5

FFO- Boyracer, The Get Up Kids,

 

 

Trust Fund

It’s finally time for our much-anticipated headliners to grace the stage to finish what is already a great gig. Trust Fund, from Bristol, are a perfect example of a rare, actually ‘good’ band to emerge out of the influx of seemingly monotonous indie-pop bands that are coming onto the music scene.

It was apparent just how pleasantly surprised this band are by their increasingly loyal following from the members’ reaction to the crowd singing along to tracks such as ‘Seems Unfair’ and ‘Dreams’ from their new album ‘Seems Unfair’.

What makes this band stand out from an ever-growing crowd of indie bands is not their style but the intimacy of their gigs. Ellis Jones manages to write relevant lyrics about young love, fear and anxiety, while presenting them with a backdrop of cheerful melodies, creating melancholic tunes that leave the crowd with hopeful vibes. This is emphasised by Jones’s distinctive voice, his charming tender vocals were perfectly demonstrated in tracks such as ‘IDK’. Similarly to Alvvays, this voice leaves a long-lasting impression on the crowd that ensures you’ll be back for more.

This band managed to bring members of the crowd together with their friendly interactions and heart-warming, alternative jams to create a perfect ending to a successful evening of showcasing the best of British Indie bands. It’s up to the up and coming promoters such as ODYXXEY to continue to make this happen.

FFO- Crushed Beaks, Hooton Tennis Club, Alvvays

Rating – 4/5

 

Check them out now: trustfund

Check out the promoter here: ODYXXEYtrust fund gig.png

(source: own image)

Teen Brains, live at the Boileroom

Here’s a live review of Teen Brains written for thnksfrthrvw

Date: 5/10/2015 – Boileroom, Guildford

Tonight started like any indie-rock gig worth going to, with a playlist consisting of artists such as Superfood and Grimes playing in the background, an excitable young crowd with aspects of every style and musical taste mixed into the equation. This was reflected in the bands lucky enough to support Teen Brains, there was something for everyone, including the grungy magic of Biggs and alternative rock sounds of Jetti.

Teen Brains came on with a cool, laid back instrumental before blasting the crowd with reverb-heavy, indie hooks and vocals reminiscent of the Drums and Darwin Deez. With the bassist bouncing around the stage and the front man’s cool-boy persona, you could not help but be charmed by this up and coming band.

The crowd were treated with one of the band’s early releases from their first EP, ‘Annabel’, which consisted of simplistic but haunting vocals layered with funky bass lines and intricate drumming. It would be good to hear this track with slightly less reverb on the vocals in order to hear what is a seemingly charismatic voice, but tonight’s performance had the desired effect nonetheless.

Teen Brains are going up in the world, that much is true after tonight’s performance. With their hazy and almost psychedelic pop sound alongside their nonchalant stage presence reminiscent, the crowd were left with the hope of being those dickheads who boast about going to the band’s gigs in their early days before they hit it big.

 

Rating: 3/5

For fans of- Hooton Tennis Club, The Drums, The Jesus and Mary Chain (in the early days)

 

 

Nimmo Live at the Boileroom

Here’s a live review of Nimmo with support by THOSS written for thnksfrthrvw

Date: 30/09/2015 – Boileroom, Guildford

 

THOSS

The five-piece band came on stage and earned their place on it instantly with “I’m the best for you”. Front man Tom serenaded the crowd his low bassey notes, which would then be accentuated by the guitarist and drummers’ voices to create a huge, holistic choral sound that got the audience intrigued from the start. Thoss’s energetic vibe was conveyed throughout the set, with hits such as “Back to the eye of the storm” and “I miss the lonely nights”. The latter consisted of a curiously motown/jazz feel from the drums and bass guitar, perfectly juxtaposed by the font man’s modern and distinct voice and made even more memorable with satisfying indie hooks and electric riffs.

Thoss introduced us to their newest single “Swing” which is now available on Soundcloud and YouTube. With romantically melancholy vocal sounds and an enchanting acoustic chorus this track is sure to be an up and coming hit.

It’s quite clear that Thoss are a relatively new band, not because of their song writing ability or sound but their clearly awkward stage presence and lack of chemistry between each member. With the keyboardist and bassist hidden away in the corner, the visual performance of the set gave a tense and uncomfortable impression to the audience. However, sparks between band members and connections with audience members are things that can be achieved and progressively built up as the band gets more gigging experience and public exposure. The hardest part is creating an exciting, memorable sound and they’ve already got that part down.

Rating: 3/5

For fans of: Flyte, Mumford and Sons, Bombay Bicycle Club

 

 

Nimmo

Nimmo surged onto the stage in a burst of energy that exploded across the floor, got all of the audience out of their seats and to the front in order to witness the intriguing sound of this female-duo fronted electronic-pop sensation.

One of the front woman, Sarah made a welcoming connection with the crowd early on, stating that this was their first time in Guildford and that she was losing her voice, apologising in advance. However this did not show in the slightest, perhaps due to the flawless collaboration between all members of the group or their magnificent stage presence demonstrated throughout the set, emitting pure energy to the rest of the room.

Stunning harmonies between the main singers Sarah Nimmo and Reva Gauntlett frequent in the set, especially in their newest hit “Dilute this” which is now available on Spotify, The group manage to create enchanting atmospheric sounds and hypnotising vocals similar to that of Man Without Country but then take it to the next level with classic EDM/house beats and guitar riffs reminiscent of the beloved xx.

Nimmo undoubtedly have the sort of sound that needs a room packed with a young lively crowd who will give the group the hyped reaction they deserve. The crowd tonight were definitely more physically engaged with Nimmo than with their main support but it was still frustrating to witness how stubbornly static the audience members were, especially when they were being played music that leaves you with no excuse not to get up and dance. However, the London group dealt with this very well. Just when you thought songs such as “He’s so alive” had come to their natural ending, Nimmo would bring it all the way to the top again out of nowhere and hit you with another body-tingling drop.

They might not have known it, but Nimmo were just what Guildford needed, a breath of fresh, revitalising air. They are making what can, at times, be a relatively dull and monotonous music genre into the exciting and uplifting experience it should be. Hopefully this group will be getting the manic, energetic audience it deserves soon as they continue to grow and tour the country.

Rating: 5/5

For fans of: Man Without Country, Eagles For Hands, London Grammar

 

HINDS Live at The Boileroom

 

Here’s a live review of HINDS with support by Oscar written for thnksfrthrvw

Date: 23/06/15 – The Boileroom, Guildford

 

Oscar

With his old-school baritone voice, front man and part-time crooner Oscar Scheller could tell you anything and you would believe it. And after releasing his new aptly named EP ‘Beautiful Words’ the day before, the band sauntered onto the stage full of energy that did not cease to flow throughout the set. With the stream of light-hearted riffs and playful beats, the crowd could not help but move, especially with the band bouncing around the stage throughout.

Oscar’s ability to smoothly transition from snappy indie pop songs such as ‘Sometimes’ to cool ska-reggae tunes showcased the band’s diversity regarding both talent and influence. For half of the set, front man Oscar was joined by the sweet and almost flirtatious voice of Florence, resulting in charming harmonies similar to that of Flyte. Even though it is still early days for this London group, they managed to fill the room with their huge sound and engagement with the audience brilliantly no matter what they were playing.

For fans of: Hannah Lou Clark, Beach Baby, Flyte

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Hinds

If this set had to be summed up in one phrase, it would have to be pure, unadulterated fun. Hinds, formally known as Deers, formed an instant, almost tangible connection with the crowd; the kind that draws you in and refuses to let go. Even though they are certainly going up in the world, with support spots for the likes of The Vaccines and a Glasto slot coming up this weekend, you could still see the looks of shock and surprise across the room as Hinds emerged on the stage and began playing, with more girl power and indie-rock hooks than you could ever wish for. They even had a couple of tricks up their sleeve, including a Kazoo solo on their first track and a guest appearance by Arnie from the Vaccines, a huge fan and friend of the group, who joined the girls on stage for a song half way through their set.

You could not say that this band has perfect song writing, with some rather monotonous and generic songs dotted around the set. However, this was more than compensated for by the group’s utterly captivating stage presence, with all members bouncing off each other brilliantly. Within Hinds, each distinct voice comes together and resonates through each track with such grace, while still keeping that cool, effortless impression running throughout. The girls really got the crowd moving in the second half of their set, with songs such as ‘I can take you dancing’, with their irresistibly funky riffs and raw vocals, but the pinnacle of the set had to be ‘Davey Crockett’, here, it was lovely to see the girls’ Spanish roots expressed and accompanied by an old-school Spanish style guitar and playful lyrics. Hinds have started off with what the likes of Hiam have got, and have gone to a whole new place with it, resulting in a visible connection between the girls themselves as well as with the audience. This dynamic band perfectly suited the Boileroom, and are not one to miss at Glastonbury.

For fans of: Honeyblood, Alvvays, Girlpool

Rating: 4/5